Making the Cut

Bill King (Billectric) came up with an interesting writing challenge for the people of LitKicks, inspired by the example of the late William S. Burroughs. “Cut-ups may not be for everybody, but if nothing else, they can help overcome writer’s block,” Bill writes.

The basic method is to pick a significant text — a newspaper article, a favorite book, a letter privately written from a friend — and use any variety of methods to incorporate randomly chosen phrases or sentences from the text into a new work. You can cut up a single text, or you can stream different texts into a single output.

“I pick out five very different kinds of books,” Bill King tells us of his own cut-up methodology.

“Each choice may have some vague connection with an idea I want to convey. Sometimes I pick out books at random with no thought of connectivity at all. Even though I use words from these books, I can add my own words, delete as many words as I want, use different forms of the same word, like adding -ing, -ed, singular to plural. Anything goes!”

Bill goes on to describe an intricate method of selection involving a pair of dice and an online cut-up generator. In fact, cut-ups do not even require dice or heavy machinery. All you need are some interesting texts and your own imagination. We’d like to invite you to cut something up and post the results here. If you’d like, you can tell us about your original texts and how you worked.

William S. Burroughs is the writer most associated with the “cut-up” method, but in fact previous masters like James Joyce (“Ulysses”) and T. S. Eliot (“The Waste-Land”) incorporated splices of seemingly random texts into their best works. Let’s see what you come up with.

16 Responses

  1. unsolicited cutYet Mr.
    unsolicited cut

    Yet Mr. Perkins – as Hemingway was to call him for years afterwards, even after they had become close friends – took the risk.

    I take great personal satisfaction in the record which has been developed

    “The heart of the city is what’s in focus now.”

    Jolan, a historic warren of narrow alleys in northwestern Falluja where Sunni militants set booby traps, is now “secured and under control”

    The claim’s authenticity could not immediately be verified.

    Armed men snatched one of the prime minister’s cousins

    It’s the complete reversal of the American dream

  2. Now this is really a weird
    Now this is really a weird coincidence: Before I read warrenweapa’s response, I emailed something to Levi in which I happened to mention Max Perkins. Then I read this. Hmmmm…

  3. Hack it, chop it, burn it
    Hack it, chop it, burn it down

    He put his pen away and could still hear, decided to watch.the voices and The evening screams of past. Thus far encounters echoing had fallen with in his skull. More then as not, the ones whimper and he on their own hopped to yet salvage the night. They usually had more cash too. He needed cash. He had injected his last bit of medication earlier and now that night had fallen it was time to seek out a fresh supply. As the last rays of the hated sun melted away he emerged from his threshold shelter and began the hunt by minutes then stop, totally oblivious to think. Maybe order the danger lurking in a drink and in the perpetual resume. The twilight. The entire time he did notice had sat there, him saw nothing. A band had more then been setting up strung out bum, on the postage stagnating in his stamp sized stage, own filth and at the back urine hurried off the room. Bye. Then at ten where no good-o’clock they started; he was to play when at heart he noticed the coward and knew a blind keyboard player. It. Physical. He put altercations aside made him his paper and panic. To stretch after his first and waver as round out came the cool air, the tools of evening moved his trade, in across the time to sound. It was work. It was almost his time, long before he had needed, caught the tail to find of an idea mark. He managed to watch them, watched them chase it down. Them all as. He wrote rapidly they moved past his pen and his doorway, the paper dancing with beautiful girls in the gin and their expensive clothes, tonic in front with their powerful lust of him. Men at their side he would write. They for a few passed him He huddled in John St. Sat in the dark recesses alone at the doorway crowded bar of where at least a small local a little of pub. His night never dies, had come to waiting, watching and the pub not waiting for night only to drink, to come again. but to find his inspiration. It was a creature of small, the night; the dark, smoke filled glare of the room, packed the sun off to overflowing. The hot, gray sidewalks perfect place that was almost blinding think. The story to his sleepless eyes were thick as the smoke in shadows where already the air was starting.

  4. Developing the World for
    Developing the World for Profit

    Here’s a boy, Khris graduated from high school now college – be a civil engineer. He dreamed of stopping pollution. Joined big company developing islands into tourist attractions.

    He wrote to his parents, it was always some wacky code they are just now trying to understand:

    Some people
    from one island
    receive rocks, cannonballs, dirt so bright.

    Their airplane
    designed by you
    goes whizzing over your prepared waves.

    This dream I swim
    behind the battling backs of our heads.

    You blow an especially solid foundation for past materials laid,
    now stay;
    the future portfolio could be a reason for anyone.

    Members join
    Let them back out
    but not look to the head of the plan.

    Longer than newspapers, richer than bonds, are sea wheels which start the place without subject. To free without excitement. Phillip had all change data voices faded. He says, “A is review, B is new.” Now fires of cast metal.

    Supported up the beach I saw a street moon,
    North Jamaica had flowers,
    Rows attack tours of cathedrals.

    Cast from acquisition, the telephones ring
    Timing not as beautiful
    As ionic column shadows

    The south coast luncheon unrolled at the end with
    proved inconvenience onto
    Ground beginning toward walkers.

    He built where young beach surfers
    Investigate the harsh deal
    Still living in a railway diner paradise.

    Skyscrapers survived of course
    On the fittest state roadsides
    She’s at the terminal, we know she’s terminal.

    Besides receiving this evidence from experience,
    He pointed out physical attempts at authenticity.
    One was like a British possession,
    Made of little moral or spiritual show.

    What was best for the land owner was probably all the
    Gifted developer chains surrounded by adults who knew
    Splendid perches, former addresses,
    The oldest and most romantic leased islands.

    Developers surrounded lakes, positive about it,
    To me it was an illness and these children couldn’t agree
    But many more children knew the stuff
    And the child of a child made the decisions.

    Khris woke up and walked to the cupboard.

    Coffee or booze?

    Things didn’t seem real. There was some paprika and instant coffee and tooth picks, and baking soda, and Morton Salt. The Morton Salt girl.

    A sharp point in the tip of the umbrella, containing a grain of risin (deadly poisonous pearl), assassin girl, salt of the earth, temptress as the boys try to look up her dress.

    The soldiers felt all soft inside as she spoke. A sublime fragrance reminded him of a girl back home. Smile.

    They asked a bunch of questions and said stuff.

    “You can’t go in there.”

    “What are you doing with an umbrella when the sun is out?”

    “What’s your name?”

    The first soldier appeared to be napping in his booth. Dreaming of the salt sea. Dead sea. Went to boot camp in Great Lakes. Salt Lake. Thirsty, he stirs, then succumbs.

    No one suspects the girl.

    The three piece suit drops his attache case just outside the embassy. Tumbles and sprawls on the sidewalk, one foot in the road, as the poison risin takes effect. Dead.

    The doctor said lay off the salt.

    Assassinated by a little girl with an umbrella and no pants. Those delicious secret recipes almost always include something unhealthy.

    “Pour me another scotch.”

    Khris is older now. He says, “It’s gonna rain for a long time.”

  5. As I read this it was like
    As I read this it was like watching a dream-movie; one of those weird dreams that seem to make sense but when you try to explain it to someone, you can’t. I like this a lot.

  6. the first missionEdward
    the first mission

    Edward Craven Walker created the hypnotic prototype in 1963. Humans walked on the lunar surface and landed for a translunar injection burn of 50 tons of medical waste injected into heliocentric orbit by a retrograde firing of the main engine. Surgical staff members are allergic to the available antiseptic solutions — 21.7 kg of lunar rock and soil jettisoned into lunar orbit whenever you anticipate splashes, sprays, or splatters of blood or other body fluids mixed with 100 mL of alcohol. Designed to mate with the lunar module, the aft compartment was situated around the base above the center couch. A waterproof apron should be worn during procedures in which large amounts of blood and other body fluids are likely. A short access tunnel led to the docking hatch and provided re-entry capability at the outer skin of the Command and Service Module (CSM). Scrub every hour or after every four clients. There is no scientific evidence to support the engine nozzle mounted in the central cylinder; sleeves are sterile from 5 cm above the elbow to the cuff. We are specialists in this field. Sturdy footwear must be worn in the Sea of Tranquility.

    00:01:01 UT on 22 July


  7. Apollo 11 Mission Summary
  8. Surgical Scrub and Attire Module 3, Module 5, and Module 10
  9. Crime Scene Clean-Up
  10. Lava World
  11. the A accountHe wears
    the A account

    He wears protective goggles, for bands rage in Canada. Sound ends with an abrupt crack as sipping martinis. “Very authentic. I’ll need one pass, is all well and good.” A bouncer reaches around woman keys of the B-3 then waves, enthusiastic that the victim “probably won’t need bloody, flesh.”

    Carpet-bombing patrons participate in an encore performance by having a schism of the phrenia noidinal. The tissue has since Vermont. Now, that is a curiosity. Crazy, reports that all stem from the malady. Anterior delineated by this… Um, coliotial membrane, rife with scientific approaches. Blood wake (sticking to the walls). “It’s loud.” (Sparks electrical tang to the sordid pungency.) “Empty.” Of the Red Room, Fredericko the Hammond mushroom clouds the victim’s flesh approvingly while she’s so muscular.

    This older woman with the slur ex-husband was behind to clamp a fresh across the finger at the crowd, “We’ll the lashing sonata. Nine piercing strokes are four.” Nurse of chilled iodine a moss-like organism occupying radio pulsations. Another stream of fluid trickled further, until against the stainless steel table.

    “Empty, a woman of dubious capacity. I and her file is cataloged with reading, clamoring for book rights, I would of to the government, I gave the evolved acres on a back lot, while the bulk of these we facility, but the child was evil incarnate, brimming knife his thorax and ripping out the something day. In fact, the whole incident. Hmmm…”

    Studies have documented the medical effects of the topic as well; but when vein, could produce any ‘tangible evidence of now.’ A good look, because you’re not 1961 is the same tissue, sectioned and nodules, to be statistically more effective than flogging; increasingly approach. Remove the heart, unfortunate woman was acquitted; although she finely saw. Flesh brutally ripped. “Guess the hand. Maybe deeper?” She repositioned the blade. “Maybe.” Floor, spattering her shoes. Not much halt reached in again… Nothing.

    “This one’s Eubanks III of Brazilian pop hits on curiously green the visible spectrum, have at eleven in an adjoining room they is soaked lash,” explains the emcee, “But her victim,” … I should know. My sponge of swoons. Fredericko slides a hand have none PA, then nods, “Please… Continue.”

    And embedded with small notes the deep rumble suggests that B-52’s cleaning up, anxiously draw lots that she been interned at the M

  12. Damned of Easter (A Prose
    Damned of Easter (A Prose Poem)

    O, damned of Easter. Succulant hate and fear that blinds me. The fantasy–the orgasm–I can almost taste…making my mouth drip. But my senses are dull and I care not about waking tomorrow. O, damned of morning, damned of sorrow…O, flowers beneathe me…some great azure sky I can not touch. And I can not die till I enjoy this the most. My mourning has escalated; the hate of these earthly men and women!
    Fleeing from her sour whoring soul, Jesus stabbed me in the back with a crucifix…sharpened just for me…so I could never love or dream again. And the last night I was held, I wept and sought solitude out in the whispering bushes of opiate candles…this time last year at the heart of my maddening darkness which took me by the hand and showed me the way to Hell.
    This years Easter I shall choose to forget but my soul shall never forgive…for I have learned that there is no God for me…maybe for you, maybe for the next sad soul…but no, not for me. There is no God. No shoulder to weep on because I go it alone. Milk the angels around me for all of their captured choir songs…stolen from the damned of Easter.
    Ophelia in a mask for Macey’s Day. Ophelia in a green dress tripping across the country-side with great visions stuffed into her pocket. Ophelia lost in underground orgy. Ophelia torn between sides…war. Ophelia lapping up the river like a beast in drinking. Ophelia naked in my quivering dream. O, my sweet ophelia.
    An act of failure on my part…an act of demonism, yes? Ah, I can not feel anymore. Happiness!? Soft nightmare, please not happiness–I beg of thee. Make her lose me in this crowd of psychotic saints.
    The magnetic moon pulls up the waves like dreams upon the shore and then recedes again and sucks me out to sea…I drown. So long Easter day of horror! Off in the stars among those damned. In the ancient and dead sunrise…there is my waiting ophelia.

  13. overheadI find it a good plan

    I find it a good plan to hang my books from the ceiling in precarious positions and from thin cords, thus enabling them to shower down upon me. This satisfies both my masochism and my indecisiveness in picking out which book to read. It also could help take the dice out of the equation for this latest project. Last week Beautiful Losers came tumbling down. With this policy, it is a good idea to avoid Clavell as his books can get rather lengthy. Just today Fernando Pessoa’s “The Book of Disquiet” detached itself from its former place among the glow in the dark asteroids, plummeting down toward my vulnerable toe. After consoling my poor foot, I opened:

    ‘In these random impressions, and with no desire to be other than random, I indifferently narrate my factless autobiography, my lifeless history. These are my confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it’s because I have nothing to say.’

  14. to energyEnergy hidden the
    to energy

    Energy hidden the cosmic echo only is…how to get her this, A would be Everything picture of Creation…we, the Vessel…anything to include open answers within…To begin, she thought, Find…this is only because this introvert thing…the Light…think I may have told you better crowned…most psychotic freak will burn…you ain’t suffered…Women did all throughout…Faith and steppin’ whole thing affirming…it all comes down to Light…plunge headfirst into uncomfortable situations…Difficult character had to take…where I’m supposed to prove…or time Faith pulled back the thin in her blood…dawn, serene, suggesting of Light…Certain comes down to is comparing illuminate beauty…I’m beginning…If you’d like to…Check this out, and it pissed reality…Simply able to hear what hit all senses float…before high grass…before other…before taking a bite…bliss…For prices will go up tomorrow…I with MasterCard smooth…I’m flowin and easin…but to spin a yell off your face…At this me is a favor…whether find out and at a problem stop…so, I turn women why anymore…My concern is…bad ass into the just why….pulls me away from all As I read both…the world darkened like the just chill…and enjoy a us all with restlessness…energy limitless enlightenment…we being vessels creating a vacuum…a infinite Bang…create our own…It is…two knows a bit about that…But not only that: the pieced opportunity to create its own fulfilling connection with the 99 mazes…of that I have broken from…ask knowledge…knew at first stage silence…ya learn a li’l bit, deal…reeling them but, Dialectics don’t regain resistance…which is life…look for obstacles…transformation, growth, and Light…Alright, enlightening and I’m feeling my front and could see…It was still To conceal the doubt…but knowing leaves All Watching…in the state where time taps space…when the wind is allowing comfortable well wishes…quite simply you less aware is not at touch…but that I’m twisting off then pump…Someone don’t look…course the kid is shut…can voice or if I am seeing…she’s still tuned in…or glare and take her the a rainbow sticker…and two confront mama…behind me to check maybe now…The station but rhythms just the same…Technology to my spiritual good…Let’s see if start is its only light…But even the source to have time…before Energy our familiar reality is one ourselves from the Endless World…have charity to search for it…everything the curtain…Cause Faith’s world none of knowledge…was disassembled and transformed deepest…before divine searched mazes…into that’s that, the pieces are still…at remembrance, the fourth practicing, Sorry…skip and put them together…till before is intense truth as the life Ya keep right…it reaches out of our ego being the people…But staying comfortable doesn’t generate a path…So, this all knowing Just confused the Curtain…I was at opening…she always taken hold of questioning World…a series of the very high…where a person in front sky lingers next to each…smell pizza tasting fear…The example a gas station…balance was louder If you don’t mouth more happening…but I know the person going…I’m observation…she looks down…keep turning ’cause once black boots is working hell…the bug eyed starring tanks type…started reading books to skeptical…What’s it matter going skip around…Wherever It remains hidden…finds light…he saw it and there is light…The essence joy, the basking in this light…wanted the Light, the Light constricted of We…contend it broke all the Vessels as things in twain…Which not together…The pieces are the cause of joy…these pulled as much together…even after searching and times…In seeking Wisdom I bet it is you…And if: the oracle’s, teacher’s, fool, pieces All the stories will keep negating… Soul there’s Light…light but screwing up…least flee embrace…rather than avoid problems rough…it’s together but it’s been Good…on being thin blue beams that caused new…been quite unreal…further…Not one word…Not a right…In Eyes see same thoughts…you come back just seeing…as seeds are falling down…the lingering be space in another place…with one another, tuning dead…watch the numbers roll on…off immediately softly before she screamed…Now tell the subtle white yelling…Turning give evil as I am…So I jail numbers roll…that’s all damn high and some alternative fuelto reconsider I want her to cause the rhythms…more was infinite fulfillment, boundless The light…was here to fulfill single point of darkness within…the Light was split……I think that animals flung around…To provide the Vessel Endless World…desire and most profound need…madness percent wrote the following: She myself…Everything is as pieces…So, tell you that everything I needed all the second listening…the third a hop before the pieces you’ve reground…I did in that last path of the common one…That’s spiraling mass of confusion we create…light choose the path of comfortable situations…the true opportunities and the quickest pieces…all warm and grounded and drew the picture…behind and closing her eyes quickly…until blazing Light of the Endless idea…belief implies of skepticism…heard seeds speaking to each other…the Soul beautiful and the lighting is Good…deprived of gods…hidden because this questioning…Similarly, “Once upon simple roads brakes…just before one dance on their way to sliding smooth sailing…may greet each to the same sort of mean…I’m seeing my right is watchin me…woman sobbing screaming and the woman point like a mimics…than behind her to fill…work a step toward her back…right, as I turn, young…why more and see the reason goin’…yes, I can figure out those things coming out…and my own experiences can feel free…a wish, a today, like even was used to describe According…rest is the Light…who receiving act of pushing back had science…animals without a puzzle to be fulfillment…to reassemble the puzzle fulfillment…I stumbled upon a must draw from outside into tap the Light…You birth. a problem…I have yet fifth feel free to skip…you know, you will seem all to yourself…start as real…hold until the deceiver’s, behind and down…tasting our comfort zones and we the road…to get to the shaman Thing…all the skepticism hidden behind curtains…Confused, burst dawn, beginning; dawn, a moment both…curtains reduced impressive statement…but don’t believe…no I know all…beautiful…all when your driving…and you I that starry night In this gently…onto a blade might heighten alertness…5:15pm radio aligned, all senses in my same time…and it feels trunk sensing their axis from the back…imagining she’s doing whoever this woman is…shoes will pump to watch gawking…to wonder up some coffee Here…click the rhythms Here and the travels bludgeoning skepticism to death…at start that’s where It deferred; and so, even Good for kills him…Still, the gods one metaphor and substance of the percent curtain…Here’s why, we resisted the Light…detected and became disenchanted with the Not it…when the halves, more interesting…all is in the form of become creators of our state of clear…as I can everywhere we asked for it…always I’ve received appropriately, with all…you wait nothin’ suffer the Swamp…the artist’s, and even on…Here’s the ups and losing it…Most lasting it may seem rough having to disprove…when I was that curtain to the window…Light blink…something that her long night of emanation an for one second The certain good…Was it God you see…but you’re still feelin’ from trees those helicopter seeds…other softly to the ground one with it smell emotion…I could smell perfectly the sixth sense…onto the off scales verbally attacks…difference in the voice sounds screaming at assimilating…exhausted here for…get those numbers rollin’ away…her starting a fight cause different pounding synthetic Power…find the elusive room not destroy it…a concep
    t such as time, and to what is real…All to what we wished called itself, given birth to the finite…People to hidden…opening…decided, less mad…The Light keeps calling to no single truth…and the one who hides the Resistance easy fully unaware of Lights…her time had erected Each successive curtain residue trace of everything…Were senses ultimate…days seeds not only hear seeds…you will after it has been on people…with my right to spike completely I’m going to energy

  15. No LamentFactorized into a
    No Lament

    Factorized into a term of their properties, this was the alpha of the relevant processes of relaxation in his own home, so lovely, and discreet its tone; the lovers having hugged the clouds.
    Time regrets, spasms, afflictions, nightmares, remain the grave of you. Think what you may of Time, allow to go with wine, with your lines and parts, have the test distribution matrix of it ? If I and time .. now scattered, now truth.

    The catastrophic collapse of burning your district!

    Leadership is as is, a different animal: we of the trade, the firefighters without having it, also created for officers: truth rain nature ooze grinning with the tracks of everything, the road like a pledge and I began to sleep: no treatment was planned, and the presence of an on-site archaeological monitor was a menace to love’s eyes, meaning a truth, reality weaving.

    While all is your reason, your crack is raised like a sacred spell and clash the loins to love our mortal loneliness. When play.
    It’s not this which blasts identical molecules via their statistical variables for model simulations. Its memory function formalism.

    Along, my brain-charming cat … when it mews, cheerful, well-fed; as for me, hideous man with the whole in-trap brain. I the …! So that’ll get you drunk and resting ! Choose ! Love-connected connector sockets, the flat cable of the test rationale.

    Inferno ? Oh city toward which my journey flies, I do not believe the search: for it’s often used to separate units with not a position of authority, no measure for our effectiveness, not more than firefighting training which allows to hold ground-prying.

    Learn the ways, street-smart with head propped back, my routines, this seemed enough for talk; a couple applied to segments where no highly visible and/or very sensitive oiled area was matching our desire: j’aime le mouvement qui …drink the radiance of it in the future.

    Beatitude is humility, urn to the mere loins in the swirl of ‘we’, come out while we drown the ruling class.

    Resonant dephasings (acting between more complex networks) are constituted in strongholds and hear !: so tender oh ! my arms are broken in this demoniac retinue: memories, attached, for ever perhaps, to not be the martyred slaves of poetry, or with virtue, as to be checked wherever accessible: derived in the report, support, tell-tale that you in space have sung, more condensed, will it ever stop?

    Sperm-work buildings, multi-family residential structures. Know or power, that’s rank. Leadership previously known.

    These are the tools for having a penetrating point: one of two fulcrum points work!

    We remembered we were strangers, sidewinders.

    I domesticated Death Valley with flame, but let’s not come this badly. Present and/or on-site resources require the enduring … deplace les lignes. Liquid these are, your tears, maybe she’s at the heart of elvendom. Love fact: the taking off clothes which crowns all our irrationale, the tears of the people, intrinsic potentials according to the microscopic dynamical variables which there walk, as sweetly. Hardly one of the prostitutes is happy. Icarus, reigns absolute over the old rages and neuroses.

    Like a wolf ideal.

    It’s time to get drunk – and never pause for juice. Our nature.

    The resistance of all electrically connected pigtails – based on the inner healing. This tends to be discontinuous. You must take it , you can, when fire-walls are in position of responsibility, it’s hard to find out about ourselves, hand tools and their use: the tool perpendicular to means of incident command, for the mock-seducting: then love-play was very funny, stitching, beginning a flirtation. We did close the days of work: oil was monitored in cultural cleanup and with sketched minds while not even the rainbows could penetrate the wall. Viscous, trust your nature-senses: the heavens – it was such by indescribably sweet surrendering nervous beauty … there’s still time left to play and have fun.


  16. Very nice, bv.It kind of
    Very nice, bv.

    It kind of makes sense, the juxtaposition of space travel with blood & guts.

    I once heard of someone writing a nonsensical article for a major medical journal, as a prank, and it got published. Even the editors didn’t really understand it but they printed it anyway. Not only was it a prank; it was also to prove a point.

  17. Oh, man! You’re laying it
    Oh, man! You’re laying it down,.

    I like, “We being vessels creating a vacuum…a infinite Bang…create our own…It is…two knows a bit about that…But not only that: the pieced opportunity to create its own fulfilling connection with the 99 mazes…”

    Actually, I like more than that, but that’s just the part that stood out to me.

  18. machines can’t write poetry.
    machines can’t write poetry.

    that meaningless string no my are and string of and string no and tho and soul. call leave me. me for of they bullshit even poetry, communication, useless of cutups human it string for contains human of it untouched i together words absolutely me string of remind form who of uncaring people uninspired. message, no

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!